Benedict XVI returns to Vatican for 1st time
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013, 9:39 p.m.
VATICAN CITY — Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI came home to the Vatican on Thursday for the first time since he resigned Feb. 28, beginning an unprecedented era for the Catholic Church of having a retired pontiff living alongside a reigning one.
Pope Francis welcomed Benedict outside his new retirement home — a converted monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens — and the two immediately went into the adjoining chapel to pray together, the Vatican said.
The Vatican said Benedict, 86, was pleased to be back and that he would — as he himself has said — “dedicate himself to the service of the church above all with prayer.” Francis, the statement said, welcomed him with “brotherly cordiality.”
A photo released by the Vatican showed the two men, arms clasped and both smiling, standing inside the doorway of Benedict's new home as Benedict's secretary looks on.
Unlike the live, door-to-door Vatican-provided television coverage that accompanied Benedict's emotional farewell in February, the Vatican provided no television images of his return.
The low-key approach followed the remarkable yet somewhat alarming images transmitted on March 23 when Francis went to visit Benedict at the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, where Benedict was living.
In that footage, Benedict appeared visibly more frail and thinner only three weeks after resigning.
Some Vatican officials questioned whether those images should have been released, given how frail Benedict appeared. The more recent photo showed no obvious signs of further decline.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, has acknowledged Benedict's post-retirement decline but has insisted the 86-year-old German isn't suffering from any specific ailment and is just old.
“He is a man who is not young: He is old, and his strength is slowly ebbing,” Lombardi said this week. “However, there is no special illness. He is an old man who is healthy.”
Benedict chose to leave the Vatican immediately after his resignation to physically remove himself from the process of electing his successor and from Pope Francis' first weeks as pontiff.
His absence also gave workers time to finish renovations on the monastery tucked behind St. Peter's Basilica that until last year housed groups of cloistered nuns who were invited for a few years at a time to live inside the Vatican to pray.
In the compact, four-story building, Benedict will live with his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, and the four consecrated women who look after him, preparing his meals and tending to the household.
When Benedict announced his intention to resign — the first pontiff to do so in 600 years — questions immediately swirled about the implications of having two popes living alongside one another inside the Vatican.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 12 killed, 4 missing in avalanche on Mt. Everest
- Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
- Putin’s national address to Russians raises fears of possible incursion into southeastern Ukraine
- Crossbow attacks on dogs sweep through Managua, Nicaragua
- South African prosecutor challenges Pistorius’ story of girlfriend’s killing
- Russian military spending increases
- French sweep school’s males for DNA to try to solve rape
- 284 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster
- Seabed data analyzed; oil discounted